Naftali Bennett accuses BBC of 'taking sides' and 'lacking moral clarity' in Hamas terror attack coverage

The BBC has been mired in controversy over its coverage of the Hamas terror attack


Naftali Bennett has accused the BBC of "taking sides" and “lacking moral clarity” in its coverage of the Hamas terrorist attack on Israel. 

The former Israeli Prime Minister criticised the corporation for its live reporting of the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital rocket blast on Tuesday. 

Journalist Jon Donnison said Israeli forces were responsible. Reporting the attack just after 8pm on BBC News, he said: “It’s hard to see what else this could be really, given the size of the explosion, other than an Israeli airstrike or several airstrikes.” 

The IDF said the blast at the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza was caused by a misfired rocket from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group and released imagery and communications intercepts aimed at supporting their case.

Meanwhile, Hamas claimed an Israeli air strike led to the blast, with Gaza health officials saying it killed at least 500 people.

In a heated interview, Bennett told the Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme: “I understand the BBC has taken the Gazan side, because all your questions are only about the Gazan civilians.”

Host Victoria Derbyshire then interjects on Bennett claiming “that's not true”.

Referencing the BBC’s reporting of Israeli families being murdered by Hamas terrorists on October 7, the Israeli politician continues: “You haven't asked one question about those children from the very beginning of this interview, it seems you care very little about them.

“You only care about one side, that is the BBC way... If you think there is a balance here between two equal sides then you are lacking moral clarity. 

“And the BBC, I must say, is lacking moral clarity. What you guys did the past week, shame on you.”

Hitting back, Derbyshire added: “Before I spoke to you Mr Bennett I spoke to a veteran Palestinian politician and I asked her about the massacre of Israeli civilians in southern Israel.”

Bennett, speaking from Tel Aviv, then disappears mid-sentence.

Meanwhile, a former director of the corporation’s television channels claimed the BBC’s “failures” over its reporting of the Hamas terror attack have had “dangerous, real-world consequences” for British Jews.

Danny Cohen also claimed BBC coverage of several incidents during the terror attack had exposed institutional “bias and deep-rooted prejudice” at the corporation. 

Writing in the Telegraph, he also added: “When the BBC gets its reporting this badly wrong it fuels the dangerous poison of antisemitism.”

It comes after Israeli president Isaac Herzog said a "correction" had to be issued over the BBC's coverage of the Hamas terrorist attack.

He said: "We feel that... the way the BBC characterises Hamas is a distortion of the facts."

Meanwhile, BBC Director General Tim Davie met the Board of Deputies president Marie van der Zyl and its chief executive Michael Wegier to discuss their "outrage" at Hamas being described as militants instead of terrorists.

The Jewish group said the BBC had confirmed it is no longer the corporation's practice to call Hamas militants, but instead is describing the group as a proscribed terrorist organisation by the UK Government and others, or simply as Hamas.

Jonathan Munro, the deputy chief executive of BBC News, said the broadcaster's "language wasn't quite right" when reporting on the Gaza hospital blast. 

Speaking at the Media Society's Reporting The Israel Hamas Conflict event on Thursday, Munro explained: "The correspondent (Jon Donnison) was wrong to speculate about the cause of the explosion of the hospital.

"At no stage did he actually say it was caused by the Israelis... but nonetheless, when the impression is left that we've speculated, (it) is important to correct that which we've done."

The BBC hit back at Cohen’s comments and said: "We wouldn't agree with this characterisation of the BBC. Our starting point is always impartiality, and we take that incredibly seriously. Where we do get things wrong, we always hold up our hands.

"The BBC always listens and will continue to have a dialogue with audiences on our reporting and meet with Jewish community representatives and staff."

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